Nothing Shall Hinder Us

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Amy Carmichael

cloud formation

cloud formation
“Expose
yourself to the circumstances of His choice.”

This little phrase, which
has stood by many a climbing soul, seems to have been coined for a
picture I have of the Matterhorn surrounded by billowing clouds. In this
picture, the confusion of the skies has been so wonderfully captured
that I can almost see the movement and hear the wind that rushes past.
The clouds in the picture are sunlit, but I realize that, were they
real, they could with awful speed cover the face of the mountain with
darkness.

Mist, rain, snow—the clouds
may bring them all, and the precipice falls away at our feet. “But none
of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I
may finish my race with joy” (Acts 20:24)—so speaks the spiritual
mountaineer.

Of
course no parable, including this one, shows everything: We know that
no natural-realm climber among the precipices purposely exposes himself
to stormy wind or willingly walks into clouds. But spiritual
mountaineers must; and at such an hour there must be “some perseverance
when we are tired, some resoluteness not to let ourselves off easily,”
something akin to the spirit of the world’s mountaineers, “a spirit firm
and tenacious and ambitious enough to drive on the body to its
seemingly last extremity.”

There is no such thing as an
easy or a sheltered climb. But “what know they of harbours who toss not
on the sea?” And what know they of succor who have never ventured in
difficult places? We shall press through the mist and the smothering
snow; we shall climb and not give way; for there is One invisible with
us, “and with every call of every hour His word is, ‘Let us go hence.’”


But notice the word is “us”;
we do not go alone. And we take this word in faith, just as we take such
words as “The angel of the Lord encamps all around those who fear Him,
and delivers them” (Ps. 34:7), in faith.

“Therefore do not cast away
yourconfidence, which has great reward” (Heb. 10:35). Cast it not away
when Grief is a companion with whom you must become acquainted, as Jesus
was. “Acquainted with grief” (Is. 53:3): The words are made real when
we encounter difficult circumstances.

Two friends are bound
together in love. The call to go to the foreign land for Christ comes to
one but not the other. There must be renunciation then, or eternal
loss.

Or something even more
poignant happens. Both hear the call. One goes abroad; the other
prepares to follow. But the providence of God holds that one at home.
Constraint that nothing can weaken holds the other abroad.


Who can measure spiritual
pain? Who can weigh the exceeding and eternal weight of glory that is
being wrought while the eyes of faith are fixed, not on the pain, but on
that which lies beyond it? But of this good thing they see nothing yet,
not even the shadow. They know only that they will not serve their Lord
together now.

Very tender comforts are prepared for such as these. They will find them as they go on.

But at least theirs is a pure
sorrow. It is not touched by the soiled fingers of earth. Some find
themselves in the midst of clouds and darkness because of the sinful
deeds of others.

And yet the wrongdoing of
another should have no power to darken the way of a child of God. At
such times our peace is found in believing that things that are not good
can be caused to work together for good. They are all subject to Him
whose works are great and whose thoughts are deep.


This is true even when the
trouble is the result of our own doing. A wrong turning was taken at the
foot of the hill. A wrong decision was made that has affected the whole
course of life.

The husband has been
handicapped by a wife who can never enter into his deepest thoughts. The
wife has been held from the highest she knew by the husband whose eyes
were on the plains. Divided counsels in the bringing up of children tell
upon the children. That means sorrow.

These circumstances were not
the choice of God for those lives, but it is impossible to go back and
begin again, and each day will bring its trials of patience and its
private griefs.

View all this as a glorious
chance to prove the power of God to keep you in peace and in hope and in
sweetness of spirit. In that sense “expose yourself” to those
circumstances. Do not fret against them. Do not fret by a dour
countenance those who cause them to be. “Beloved, let us love” (1 John
4:7) is a wonderful word for such difficult situations. And love is
happy, not dour.


Even if you seem to be
pushing through some long trailing wisp of cloud, like that which lies
on the face of the Matterhorn, be of good cheer. Your God has not
forsaken you.

Often we find ourselves in
precipitous, perhaps cloudy places because of some act of obedience.
Such acts are called “ventures of faith,” but there is no venture where
faith is concerned. We walk on rock, not on quicksand, when we obey. But
there is no promise that the rock will be a leveled path, or like the
carpet of roses that Cleopatra spread for the officers of Mark Anthony.

Sooner or later God meets
every trusting child who is following Him up the mountain and says, “Now
prove that you believe this that you have told Me you believe, and that
you have taught others to believe.” Then is your opportunity.

God knows, and you know, that
there was always a hope in your heart that a certain way would not be
yours. “Anything but that, Lord,” had been your earnest prayer. And
then, perhaps quite suddenly, you found your feet set on that way, that
and no other. Do you still hold fast to your faith that He makes your
way perfect?


It does not look perfect. It
looks like a road that has lost its sense of direction: a broken road, a
wandering road, a strange mistake. And yet, either it is perfect, or
all that you have believed crumbles like a rope of sand in your hands.
There is no middle choice between faith and despair.

Amy Carmichael
(1867-1951) was a missionary who labored in India for 56 years. She
founded the Dohnavur Fellowship, which eventually became a large
compound that included a hospital and a house of prayer, to provide care for needy children. Adapted from
Gold by Moonlight (© 1995, Christian Literature Crusade). Used by permission.


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